If you have read previous Norweigan stories/books by Lauraine Snelling before, you have to admit that her characters are very realistic. They might be warm or they might be harsh, but they are real. In this particular story I cringed as I traveled along with a new family coming to Minnesota, Amerika on cheap fare/passage across the ocean. A seeking family, parents and children, facing for the first time the pangs of hunger, sea-sickness and unsanitary conditions. But even so, there were dreams and promises swimming in their heads. And after all, they were going to live with family in this new town and country! But when they arrive in the small community where they were to live and work, something seemed amiss with the Onkle that retrieved them and the Tante that was waiting at home. Would this be the land of adventure they had been longing for or was the whole trip a sorrowful mistake? Read and find out what God has in store for them all. (And for a real treat, read her other Norweigan stories!)
This book was provided to me by Bethany/Baker Books. All opinions are my own. Mary Ann Young Robinson, Boise, ID
I was so glad to return to the town of Blessing, just as Anji Baard Moen did, after the death of her husband while living in Norway. Blessing was where she grew up, had her first love, developed friendships, so it wasn’t hard to leave her mother-in-law’s harsh home where children were little more than objects in the room.
The threat she lived with, though, was that her mother-in-law would not share any family money with her if she would decide to remarry and give her children a father. How selfish, but Anji worked hard and wasn’t sure she would want to remarry. She set her mind to teaching, and writing articles for the Blessing Gazette, but while doing that, met an Anglican Priest that became her friend.
Thomas Devlin, an Irish minister, was the main editor. Single, fun, and sensitive, Anji began to look at him differently and wondered if he was experiencing some of the same feelings. He came for dinner, enjoyed her children and finally asked to court her.
A circus train came through the town exposing Blessing to Diphtheria. Thorliff, a very loved member of the community and Doctor Astrid’s brother, lost his wife, Elizabeth, to the disease, but recovered himself to take care of his children. Anji was grieved to see him suffer as he was her first love as young people in this town.
Then the church call came…it was too far away. He knew he was called and yet was drawn to Anji and she couldn’t face leaving Blessing for the second time. Thomas went to have an appointment near Chicago to find out if this was where the Lord was calling him. The distance softened both Anji and Thomas’s heart preparing them for future ministry. After Anji had a heart to heart talk to Thorliff about the past, she realized how she must move forward in her life.
Ingebord, still a vital widow in the town, is a support system for many. Her medical training of Astrid pays off. She becomes the main stay of the hospital, assisted by Miriam, now living in Blessing married to Tryve.
The colorful characters of Blessing come to life again as Lauraine Snelling presents a new tale of community, love, suffering and perseverance.